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Terry’s Baggies Blog

STOPPING THE ROT

08-10-2009

With virtually a quarter of the season gone, Albion are clinging to the second promotion spot in the Championship - but only just. Terry Wills takes limited comfort from a goalless draw at Preston.

Blessed relief! The horror of those two dreadful performances against Crystal Palace and Barnsley were mercifully readdressed at Deepdale.

Before the game travelling Albion fans (and there weren’t too many due to the game being screened live on Sky) in the main felt they’d be happy to return home with a point especially as Preston, should they have won, would have leapfrogged over the Baggies too claim the second automatic promotion place in the table.

So at face value the well deserved point, and it should have been three, on a ground where apart from an FA Cup win a few seasons ago they have a dismal record.

Early on there wasn’t much to choose between the teams although I honestly expected Preston to be better than they were based on this somewhat mediocre display.

They rarely troubled an Albion defence that at Barnsley had looked as if they were passing strangers.

They marked tighter, closed down 100% quicker and cleared dangerous situations with a far greater sense of conviction.

With almost inevitably yet again Graham Dorran pulling the strings, and Jonas Olsson confidently gobbling up the ball whenever danger threatened, the prospect of a win early on looked very promising.

However, within this promise lay THE major disadvantage. A 4-5-1 formation only poses problems for the opposition IF the lone striker, in this case Roman Bednar receives a reasonable back up from his midfield players.

This didn’t happen too often although towards the end, as the Baggies looked to turn the screw, the North End defence had to rely on a match saving display from keeper Andy Lonergan to prevent the Baggies winning the game and notching three vital points.

I admit to being puzzled at some of Robert Di atteo’s team selections and substitutions Why Filipe Teixeira seems to have fallen out of favour really only he knows, while Rueben Reid coming on as a substitute in preference to Chris Wood, seemed a strange decision.

Reid undoubtedly has pace to spare but when he does receive the ball he seems to be in a quandary as to whether to run with it or lay it off with a positive pass or cross – and subsequently manages to lose the ball and waste potentially promising scoring opportunities.

Fans verdict ? “Must do better when given the opportunity”.

So a point that kept the Baggies in second spot and three points behind Newcastle United. Worryingly both Middlesbrough, still smarting from the 5-0 massacre against Albion, and Cardiff City, scoring their 10th goal in just two games are now in close proximity. As indeed are a clutch of other clubs.

Of course its still very early days and there’ll be twists and turns, ups and downs, moans and groans, cheers and jeers, all rounded off come next May before Robert Di Matteo knows if he’s managed to guide the club back into the ‘Greed League’.

No game this week due to the International break and for Albion this gives time for some players, playing two games a week carrying knocks and to get fully fit, time to recover before games against Reading and Swansea see the gruelling fixture schedule back in full swing.

“Come on you Baggies”

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